This Thing Called Courage

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Get Gardening

You wouldn't know it round these parts, but Monday (snow all day) was the first full day of spring-- actually, you would know it, as the snow didn't stick to the open earth or to roads, only to the grass-- Our Mother is warming up. The Full Worm Moon happened this weekend, and so we are in the Worm Moon for the next 28 days-- named by the Native Americans in honor of the diminutive creatures who begin to stir near the surface of the earth now, without whom their would be no tillable earth-- the earth would be like concrete. The Native Americans knew that. Most of us, don't.

Imagine that-- that we owe our existence to the worms, and ants, and beetles, and the other creatures who keep the earth pliable and fertile. One would never get that kind of sense from watching television or participating actively-- or passively, as the case might be-- in American consumerist culture. We can order and control all things, we are told-- all it takes is more possessions, more money, more power, and more greed and selfishness. We are the crowns of creation, the supreme end of evolution!

Uhmm...well...maybe not so much. The sad truth is, the earth, and ALL her species, would be lots better off without us. In some ways, we are a form of rapid multiplying bacteria, breaking down the planet. And yet, when we watch children playing barefoot over Mother Earth, running through grass or rolling down hills, or listen to Beethoven's Ninth, or read beautiful poetry, or witness a selfless act of pure human kindness, or escape into nature and feel oneness with Spirit-- how can we can deny that we have such potential to be good, and to do good, and that we are indeed our Mother Earth's children?

So, the earth needs friends, and for her to survive, we must all of us appeal to the better angels of our natures. Let's become the earth's stewards, in humility and gratitude. One of the best ways to do that, and to help ourselves and our health at the same time, is to begin to grow our own food.

Even a small apartment balcony can grow a surprising amount of food, with wall units and containers. Growing one's own food also takes one of the most important determining factors of our long-term health out of the hands of corporate agri-business-- where profit is the only concern, and the use of poisons not only encouraged, but actually partially funded by our government-- and puts this into our own hands.

More than that, gardening is entering into relationship with the earth. It will feed your soul and spirit as much as your body. It will change you. You will slow down. You will become a lover of rain, an intimate acquaintance of sunsets, a friend of the birds. You'll watch the sky with quiet eyes. As you are healed by the earth, you may be able to return the favor. In a fascinating book, Spiritual Growth Through Domestic Gardening, the Jesuit Al Frisch posits the wonderfully quirky and nearly 'magikal' idea that, in the same way that humans are healed by touch, so can the earth. Well-- why not? When we put our hands into the earth, to plant or cultivate or weed, stop for one moment and notice-- is the ground warm or cold? Muddy, wet, dry? Become aware of the earth, and then gently massage it-- the energy of your healing touch, no matter how weak, will reverberate around the entire globe. Interesting! Anyway, Father Frisch's wonderful book is offered free and with love to the public, and is available here: Happy Spring!


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